Recycled PET

A minimum recycled content bill awaits the governor’s signature in Washington. | Mr_Mrs_Marcha/Shutterstock

Legislation establishing post-consumer resin requirements for beverage containers, certain consumer goods and trash bags has cleared both chambers of the Washington state legislature.

House Bill 5022 sets post-consumer resin (PCR) content percentage minimums that step up every few years. The bill also includes a statewide ban on three categories of expanded polystyrene materials: cold-storage foodservice containers, foodservice products and packing peanuts.

Additionally, the bill requires restaurants to provide single-use utensils and other materials only upon customer request.

The bill, which had its first reading in January, passed the Washington state House of Representatives in a 73-24 vote on April 7, and it passed the Senate on a 31-18 vote on April 19. It now goes to Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk for a signature. Waste Dive first reported on the bill’s status.

Materials covered by the PCR mandate include beverage containers, trash bags, and household cleaning and personal care product containers. For beverages other than dairy milk and wine in 187-milliliter bottles, the bill requires 15% PCR by 2023, 25% by 2026 and 50% by 2031. Dairy milk and wine containers would be phased in at 15% in 2028, 25% by 2031 and 50% by 2036.

Household cleaning and personal care products would be required to hit 15% PCR in 2025, 25% in 2028 and 50% in 2031. Trash bags would be mandated at 10% by 2023, 15% by 2025 and 20% by 2027.

The state’s Department of Ecology would have the authority to review and adjust these requirements based on market conditions, recycling rates and other factors.

A similar minimum-recycled-content bill cleared both legislative chambers in 2020, but Inslee, a Democrat, vetoed the legislation. He cited economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that the recycled-content mandate would require government expenditures in administration and enforcement.

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